Crean: Offseason development key

After Aaron Fuller and Jarryd Cole pushed around his forwards on Sunday, Indiana coach Tom Crean got another question about big men at his weekly radio show on Monday, but this one was more about the development of his current bigs than recruiting a new one.

The caller in question did mention Cody Zeller, and Crean rightfully pointed out that he can’t comment on recruits, but he was asking more about the development of IU’s current front line, and Crean brought up freshmen Bobby Capobianco, Derek Elston and Christian Watford.

“I like the things that we’ve got in these young guys,” he said. “… There’s three freshmen in Bobby, Derek and Christian that are on that front line that are making progress. They all need to gain weight, they all need to gain athleticism, they’re going through experiences right now. They need to develop confidence. I think Derek Elston is really just scratching the surface on what kind of player he’s going to be. We definitely need him to continue be an integral part as we move forward this year.”

Crean said earlier in the evening that he Capobianco and Watford were two of the most improved players on the team this year.

“He’s really had to develop an ability to guard different people on the perimeter, to be able to get by people,” Crean said of Watford. “Once his athleticism really takes shape, I think you’ll see even a different player there. And I would say Bobby Capobianco has probably had the biggest mindset, and I mean that in a good way, in being able to understand how hard you have to play at this level.”

Crean was asked about one of his freshmen that hasn’t been playing in freshman guard Maurice Creek, who has been out since December with a fractured knee.

“He’s been doing very well,” Crean said. “He had a great first semester, and I know that didn’t have anything to do with his injury, but he’s continued to work very hard academically. He’s ahead of schedule, but he’s definitely a ways away from being on the court and being able to work on the court on a hard fashion. He put up 205 six times the other day, which is real progress there. I think his body will continue to really grow. He’s on all of our trips. We have him doing different statistics for us during the games, just trying to help him really learn the leadership that he’s gotta have to be successful moving forward.”

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